Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Back with a Sparkle; Sara McConnell Ends Our Series on Secret London by Finding Well-Priced Homes along the Capital's Unlikeliest Scenic Trail

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Back with a Sparkle; Sara McConnell Ends Our Series on Secret London by Finding Well-Priced Homes along the Capital's Unlikeliest Scenic Trail

Article excerpt

Byline: SARA MCCONNELL

INDUSTRIAL south London may not be an obvious starting point for a peaceful riverside walk, but the crumbling warehouses and sagging wharf gates at Deptford Creek mark the beginning of one of the capital's newest waterside trails: the Waterlink Way, which runs along the revived Ravensbourne and Pool rivers.

The nine-mile walk from Deptford to South Norwood takes you via some of London's fastest-changing riverside, past smart new homes, across parkland and playing fields, under and over railway lines, from inner city to outer suburbia. This is one of the better ways to see a different, greener south London, well away from the shabby high streets and depressing inter-war semis that form the landscape of any similar journey by road.

It has only recently become possible to follow a pathway beside the Ravensbourne, one of four south London rivers that feed the Thames.

Following the river on its route through Lewisham, Ladywell and Catford to Beckenham and Bromley was once a frustrating experience as it disappeared behind council waste depots or under busy roads. Now a signposted trail runs along its length.

With a [pounds sterling]43.5 million lottery grant, cycling charity Sustrans has developed more than 8,000 miles of walking and cycling routes, including 100 miles of paths in London.

One of these is the Waterlink Way, also known as London Cycle Route 21, from Deptford to Bellingham along the Ravensboure, then along the River Pool to South Norwood Country Park. From there it continues a further 90 miles to Eastbourne.

The Ravensbourneis noticeably cleaner than it used to be.

Residents organise regular cleanups to keep it that way, and the Environment Agency monitors pollution and tracks down both business and domestic offenders.

If you fancy following the Waterlink Way, look for signs that feature a white 21 (for Route 21) on a red background, which you will find on lampposts and with direction arrows. …

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